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SAL PIAMONTE (CANADA)
Sal Piamonte may hail from the same hometown as Alanis Morissette and his vibe may capture some of his homegirl’s rebellious fire, but “Take Me Home”—the blistering first single from the Ottawa born singer/songwriter’ latest album Lives in Devil City—puts the listener square in the heart of Alabama and Louisiana, where soul-driven Southern rock reigns.
As hard hitting as the tunes are, the multi-faceted, dangerously catchy 13-track set (which is bookended by a clever “Big Sleazy” intro and outro) isn’t simply about celebrating Piamonte’s diverse array of influences and the many ways, as he puts it, “Rock and Roll rules my soul.” Devil City is a hard hitting metaphor for a place where disillusionment reigns, the people you thought you could count on let you down and everyone’s in it for themselves. Piamonte’s task throughout is rising above. He’s seen the devil in a flowered dress (“Whatcha Say?”) but in this struggle of good vs. evil, he’s not giving up just because of a few setbacks. Tova Payne from Capital Style Magazine puts it best: “There is no doubt this soul rocker is racing along his musical path. His determination, passion and energy is unstoppable.”
Since his early forays into the music world—he released his solo debut EP Moments They Pass in 2006—Piamonte both in studio and onstage has epitomized the “never say die” attitude. His songs are driven by stories of triumph, tragedy, conquest and a wealth of life experiences connected to a powerful mystical gift of intuition and psychic awareness. A psychological profiler by day and musical shaman by night, he’s bold about declaring his feeling that many of his songs have “written themselves,” as though he is literally pulling the ideas out of the sky. He is currently signed to the publishing company 2850 Music, whose other artists include Lionel Richie, GroupLove and John Waite.
“I think the difference in the efforts leading up to my new record, and my new record itself, is that I became more confident and focused with my message, choice of lyrics and chord progressions, and honing my melodies,” he says. “For a long while, it was hard for me to balance my love for Top 40 music, southern styled rock and roll and soulful elements with my love for more straight up styled rock, I feel that a certain process was necessary to get to this point. I feel that rock allows me the freedom to express my message so as to maximize my positive impact on the world and the people around me.”
Expanding on his numerous past successes, the singer’s deep connections to the universe are translating perfectly to the hearts of thousands of listeners throughout Canada. “Take Me Home” received adds and features on stations such as The Wave in Yarmouth, NS, 99.1 in Wallaceburg, ON, 106.1 The Goat in Lloydsminster AB, Rock 101 Radio and The Wolf 106 in Naniamo, BC. He also recently earned first place as well as Artist of the Month on the New Artist Online voting at CKXSFM’s fan polls. He is currently ranking at #7 (out of hundreds) for a coveted showcase spot in the 2012 MIDEM Showcase competition in Cannes. His upcoming show at the Toronto Independent Music Awards is the latest of hundreds of performances throughout Canada, including performances at Massey Hall in Toronto, where he has shared the stage with Sheriff/Alias, Animotion, Alan Frew of Glass Tiger, Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies and others. Fans have been mesmerized by a sound that the Canadian media has found unique ways to describe over the years.
Jaimie Vernon of Cashbox Canada, Inc. wrote: “Piamonte has managed to assemble a million dollar record on an indie budget. And what a record it is; one part balls-in-your-face misogynist swagger and bravado like tried and true ‘Drop D’ tuned bands a la Nickelback, Theory of A Deadman and Finger Eleven; another part Kid Rock good-time party anthems; and all out exceptional Hedley-styled pop vocals, hooky rock riffs, and speaker busting production… In another era the opening quartet of tracks off the top of the album of “Take Me Home”, “Devil Woman” and “Get Up, Get Up” and the balladry of “Just A Little Bit” would have meant a whole A-side of charting singles. Piamonte has loosely woven the tracks into a narrative of dark and dangerous exploits in the metaphorical Devil City…Imagine comic icon Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City’ as a Broadway musical.”
“Take Me Home” is the song on Lives In Devil City that’s getting the most early traction, but the collection has numerous emotional focal points. Piamonte and his band have shot a video for that single, as well as a promotional video for the “Get Up, Get Up” single,” an inspirational percussive rocker which the singer penned as a note of encouragement to a young cousin; it’s about having the strength to be forward and not be ashamed of who you are. “Tonight”’s classic dancey pop-rock vibe reflects on love lost with a positive message that is painted with a mysterious ambience of images of nighttime, including vampires. “Just A Little Bit” is the power ballad of the set, also reflecting on the regret of what’s behind but with a forward thinking twist.
Piamonte says, “This record paints a quasi-narrative in a fictional ‘Devil City’ that highlights my personal dealings with these shady characters-from so-called ‘friends’ to lovers, to acquaintances, and how their selfishness and short-sightedness helped me to discover what I truly had to offer, while sending a message that I will never let anyone break or bring me down, no matter the odds. From a songwriting point of view, that has always been my forte, but writing this record didn’t really come with a whole lot of digging or soul searching in the typical sense…the material was simply there, at-the-ready, for me to sift and sort through, and to present on an edgy, yet pop-sensible enough canvas, to be able to accurately convey the message.”
Transcript thank you to –Jonathan Widram for Rainmaker Media
Follow on Twitter @SalPiamonte